March 21, 2005

I'm Shutting Up Now

I tried to write another long post about the Terri Schiavo case and decided half-way through that I need to delete it. It’s time to move on to something that’s either more important, more fun, or at least less gruesomely voyeuristic. Eric Deamer is right. Everyone needs to shut up - especially that id of reptilian conservatism otherwise known as Tom DeLay.

UPDATE: I would like to say one more thing in the "keep your mouth shut" department. Tom DeLay might find himself slapped with a libel suit if he doesn't watch it.
He followed with a torrent of invective against her "estranged" husband, Michael Schiavo, now living with another woman, a man with whom he had been trading insults since Thursday.

"No care for 15 years. No therapy. No nothing," DeLay said, his voice awash in scorn. "What kind of man is that?"

I'm no expert in this case, and I really don't know what's true and what isn't. But I have seen plenty of references to pieces of information that suggest what DeLay is saying from the bully pulpit of Congress about Schiavo - a private citizen - isn't true. You don't have to prove malice to win a libel suit. Reckless disregard for the truth is enough.

Posted by Michael J. Totten at March 21, 2005 07:56 PM

Comments

When my life is on the line, I hereby give permission to anyone and everyone who wants to advocate on my behalf in the interest of not killing me to be heard. Even if other people find such people's politics icky, their moral impure, or their shoes untied.

I also would like all those who will eventually decide to ignore the value of my life in favor of other items they deem more important or fun to earn my pre-emptive raspberry.

Posted by: Doug at March 21, 2005 08:24 PM

Everyone needs to shut up - especially that id of reptilian conservatism otherwise known as Tom DeLay.

That was rather uncivil of you Michael. Delay responded to his constituency. You have a problem with that?

Posted by: Carlos at March 21, 2005 09:15 PM

Carlos,

Can you name a member of Congress less civil than Tom DeLay?

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at March 21, 2005 09:26 PM

Carlos,

Scratch that. I can think of other politicians at least equally as uncivil as Tom DeLay. In any case, he will survive my insult. He also might get slapped with a libel suit by Michael Schiavo.

He followed with a torrent of invective against her "estranged" husband, Michael Schiavo, now living with another woman, a man with whom he had been trading insults since Thursday. "No care for 15 years. No therapy. No nothing," DeLay said, his voice awash in scorn. "What kind of man is that?"

I'm no expert in this case, but I have seen refernces to things that suggest what he said is a lie.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at March 21, 2005 09:52 PM

I can never forget when I see his face that DeLay used to be an exterminator. Of course I mean this in the best possible way.

Posted by: Todd Grimson at March 21, 2005 10:01 PM

It is my sincere hope that DeLay gets sued out of his skin for libel.

Posted by: Kimmitt at March 21, 2005 10:21 PM

It is my sincere hope that DeLay gets sued out of his skin for libel.

That's cute the way everybody loves to hate Delay. Folks, he's just a politician. Hating him for that is like hating a dog for shedding, or hating farts for stinking. They are what they are.

He may get sued, but it won't go anywhere. Delay is commenting on a public matter, and unless malice can be shown (i.e., he knowingly lied about Mr. Schiavo), then there's no case. A tough one to prove. And don't you think Delay already knows that? He's not a total babe in the woods as you know.

Posted by: Carlos at March 21, 2005 10:37 PM

Carlos,

Reckless disregard for the truth is grounds enough for libel, especially when it comes to private citizens like Michael Schiavo.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at March 21, 2005 10:47 PM

How did I know Carlos would come to DeLay's defense with a "everybody does it" defense? Hey, that covers Carlos's own prevarications on the previous thread! It's almost as though it's a convenient cover for both of them...

Posted by: Kimmitt at March 21, 2005 10:51 PM

It is my understanding that one cannot sue a member of Congress for slander. Am I right about that?

Posted by: David Thomson at March 21, 2005 11:07 PM

I expect Michael won't sue. DeLay exagerrated, but I think Michael would rather not expose himself that way, and for good reason.

Posted by: chuck at March 21, 2005 11:12 PM

How did I know Carlos would come to DeLay's defense with a "everybody does it" defense?

That was a "defense" of Delay? LOL! Hardly. I couldn't care less about Delay. Like Totten said, he'll survive the insults.

I just find it amusing how people personalize politics. My point is simple, it's about policies, not personalities. Got it? You'll not see me defend Delay any more than you'll see me personally attack Hilary or Barney Frank. Grow up.

Posted by: Carlos at March 21, 2005 11:17 PM

It is my understanding that one cannot sue a member of Congress for slander. Am I right about that?

Not quite. Congresscritters enjoy immunity for anything said on the floor of Congress. But they can be sued for things they say when they're not actually in Congress.

Michael, what have you heard to make you think Terri Schiavo has had therapy in the last twelve years or so? I've read a fair amount from both points of view about this, and that doesn't seem to be a disputed point, but it's entirely possible that I've missed something.

Posted by: jaed at March 21, 2005 11:27 PM

Reckless disregard for the truth is grounds enough for libel, especially when it comes to private citizens like Michael Schiavo.

Michael,

Most people believe the very same things about Michael Schiavo, so how are you going to prove "reckless disregard for the truth" by Delay? For it to be reckless, Delay would have to know it wasn't true, OR reasonably have known it wasn't true. Sorry, there's no way a plaintiff can prove "reckless" here.

David, legislators are immune from suit only for things they say during debate on the chamber floor.

Posted by: Carlos at March 21, 2005 11:35 PM

Carlos: You'll not see me defend Delay any more than you'll see me personally attack Hilary or Barney Frank. Grow up.

Bitching about politicians is one of our national sports. What on earth would we bloggers do if we all had to cut if out all of a sudden?

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at March 21, 2005 11:48 PM

Bitching about politicians is one of our national sports. What on earth would we bloggers do if we all had to cut if out all of a sudden?

true true. Enjoy yourself, just don't start believing the hype (like Kimmit does).

Posted by: Carlos at March 21, 2005 11:51 PM

"I expect Michael won't sue. DeLay exagerrated, but I think Michael would rather not expose himself that way, and for good reason."

You took the words out of my mouth. Actually, I was going to write, "Great, bring it on, then we'll find out if all those rumors about Michael Schiavo are true or not." Maybe Delay was even trying to flush him out.

Posted by: Yehudit at March 22, 2005 12:29 AM

And Eric is wrong. There are good reasons this case is drawing so much discussion. It's making people think about life and death and guardianship and balance of powers in government and justice and all sorts of things. Plus it's a riveting forensic mystery story. I could see it as a PD James novel. If Eric doesn't want to read about it he can use his mouse to click to something else. Or turn off his PC and read a book.

Posted by: Yehudit at March 22, 2005 12:33 AM

What kind of man is Michael Schiavo? He is a hateful, mendacious man- a man who believes that he should have the power to order the death of another citizen who has become a useless inconvenience to him. A man who has forsaken hiis marriage vows, yet still hides behind them so that he can commit state-sponsored murder.

He won't sue DeLay. Once Terri is starved to death, he and his lawyer will publish their book and make a bundle on it. He won't want to waste anymore time in court.

Posted by: Priscilla at March 22, 2005 03:56 AM

Michael - That's an odd post, for some one who favors free speech. (I'll have more to say about that point in a post on my site.)

If you have information proving that DeLay was wrong, then you should post it, or links to it, or at least summarize it for us. I have seen what appear to be affidavits from a nurse and a nursing assistant at Patterico's site that support what DeLay said. Thye may not be authentic, but Patterico, who has a little experience in legal matters, thinks they are.

I'm not sure why you call Delay reptilian. I would guess that his position in this case is the same as Nat Hentoff's -- and I wouldn't call Hentoff reptilian either,

Posted by: Jim Miller at March 22, 2005 04:23 AM

Well, who is to stop doctors from determining whether a person lives or dies? So far, the only thing the doctors can offer is their opinions based on their perception of diagnosis. The doctors have said Terry will never recover and the husband is basically defending the doctors opinionated premise.

These days once a doctor gives their opinions regarding diagnosis our society naturally assumes the doctors are correct.

By the way, Terry is not on life-support system, she is disabled and simply has a feeding tube to provide nutrients.

As for life support systems, look at how Christopher Reeves was jacked-up to a breathing machine, his body completely incapcitated and would have resulted in becoming brain-dead without having this life-support system yet no one insisted he die because his life was a drain on his wife, his family or society as a whole. On the contrary, he became a champion for the disabled and was provided with all forms of therapy which led to his improvement yet Terry has had no therapy at all because the husband refused treatment based upon the doctors opinions that she was hopeless.

Why the distinction between Terry's life and Christopher's life? Particularily since Terry has far out-lived Christopher Reeves despite having far less therapy and live-support systems.

I suppose the doctors gave Reeves the best possible opportunity to live because they could be associated with a celebrity and of course, everyone loves the celebrity. Terry, on the other hand, was nobody important whose plug should be pulled because our society cannot stand the sight of disabled nobodies whose husband had refused her treatment.

I support our Congress for standing up for the nobodies in our society because, like Terry, I am one of the nobodies.

Posted by: susan at March 22, 2005 04:29 AM

Michael, in answer to your question

"Can anyone name a member of the Congress less civil then Delay?"
Byrd
Pelosi
Boxer
Kennedy

Posted by: susan at March 22, 2005 04:34 AM

"Can anyone name a member of the Congress less civil then Delay?"
Byrd
Pelosi
Boxer
Kennedy"

Tom DeLay comes across a soft spoken choir boy next to these Democrats. Kennedy is especially vicious.

Posted by: David Thomson at March 22, 2005 04:55 AM

Have we, for instance, already forgotten that Ted Kennedy accused President George W. Bush of resorting to "pure, unadulterated fear-mongering, based on a devious strategy to convince the American people that Saddam's ability to provide nuclear weapons to Al Qaeda justified immediate war."

Devious strategy? Shucks, isn't it sad that President Bush cannot sue Senator Kennedy for libel?

Posted by: David Thomson at March 22, 2005 05:05 AM

Why the distinction between Terry's life and Christopher's life?

Just guessing, but I suspect that it has to do with the fact that Reeve had a recognizable cerebral cortex and was responsive to stimuli. You do understand that their conditions are not at all similar, right?

Posted by: Smokey at March 22, 2005 05:09 AM

As to the political fallout of this, it is too early to tell, as few people have gathered the information and settled on a conclusion. But I suspect that in the long run the Democrats are going to be tarred as the Party of Death. The Republicans are already tarred as the Party of Life (snicker, snicker). Oh, those doltish Republicans. They breed too.

Which appellation would you choose for yourself?

Posted by: chuck at March 22, 2005 05:35 AM

"I suspect that it has to do with the fact that Reeve had a recognizable cerebral cortex and was responsive to stimuli"

Terri Schiavo's brain is atrophied and there is fluid in the spacec created by that atrophy. Based on the CT posted on the miami.edu website, there IS cortex remaining. Anyone who can read a CT can see it.

Now that it is over and Terri will be starved to death by court fiat, please, at least stop with the "liquefied brain" "No. Brain." nonsense. It is sensationalist BS, meant to justify euthanasia. There is a brain there. It is not a sac of fluid, it is a badly damaged ,living human being's brain. The extent to which Terri Schiavo is still able to reapond to stimuli will never be known, because she will be dead. Maybe mercifully so, maybe not. I don't pretend to know.

Posted by: Priscilla at March 22, 2005 05:41 AM

Weird, you look a little like Saddam, both your pictures there.

Posted by: fist at March 22, 2005 06:01 AM

'Reckless disregard for the truth is grounds enough for libel, especially when it comes to private citizens like Michael Schiavo.'

Not so. A def of libel from http://www.medialaw.org/Content/NavigationMenu/Public_Resources/Libel_FAQs/Libel_FAQs.htm#What%20is%20Libel?

Basically three things are required 1)being false 2) being malicious (intent) 3) causing provable harm

DeLay's slime but he's not libelous. Also, it's rare and near impossible for the rich to lose libel cases, although they often bully the poor into keeping quiet. See: http://www.cosmoetica.com/B35-RK1.htm

Posted by: Dan Schneider at March 22, 2005 06:01 AM

Wow -- you are siting Eric Deamer -- of the torrent of nastily written response posts from 3/20-2/21 as your model of probity in this debate.

Having used up all his mental and emotional energy and sucked himself dry, I guess he decided since he no longer wanted to write invective, no one else should either.

Uh huh. Good choice, Michael.

Maybe you should have examined the evidence first, though.

Posted by: eduardo at March 22, 2005 06:14 AM

If the tragic case of Terri Schiavo shows nothing else, it shows how easily "the right to die" can become the right to kill. It is hard to believe that anyone, regardless of their position on euthanasia, would have chosen the agony of starvation and dehydration as the way to end someone's life.

A New York Times headline on March 20th tried to assure us: "Experts Say Ending Feeding Can Lead to a Gentle Death" but you can find experts to say anything. In a December 2, 2002 story in the same New York Times, people starving in India were reported as dying, "often clutching pained stomachs."

No murderer would be allowed to be killed this way, which would almost certainly be declared "cruel and unusual punishment," in violation of the Constitution, by virtually any court.

Terri Schiavo's only crime is that she has become an inconvenience -- and is caught in the merciless machinery of the law. Those who think law is the answer to our problems need to face the reality that law is a crude and blunt instrument.

Make no mistake about it, Terri Schiavo is being killed. She is not being "allowed to die."

She is not like someone whose breathing, blood circulation, kidney function, or other vital work of the body is being performed by machines. What she is getting by machine is what all of us get otherwise every day -- food and water. Depriving any of us of food and water would kill us just as surely, and just as agonizingly, as it is killing Terri Schiavo.

Would I want to be kept alive in Terri Schiavo's condition? No. Would I want to be killed so slowly and painfully? No. Would anyone? I doubt it.

http://www.townhall.com/columnists/thomassowell/ts20050322.shtml

Posted by: Kill her humanely! at March 22, 2005 06:27 AM

Hey, Pricillia, where did you learn to read a CT? Since this guy can both read CT scans (He's the Chief of Neurology at Case Western Reserve University) and thinks there's no brain, I think you might be lying. Are you lying?

Posted by: FC at March 22, 2005 06:34 AM

I hate to say it, but I think DeLay is immune from the threat of a liable suit because his comments were made on the floor of the House during a floor debate. Whether Michael Schiavo is a public figure or not (my guess would be that he is not), there's immunity for libel during the legislative process. DeLay could have been lying through his teeth, and it wouldn't matter what he says....

Posted by: LGF4Flipper at March 22, 2005 07:27 AM

I think you might be lying. Are you lying?

hahaha! Everybody's a liar FC.

Priscilla, don't worry. I hear he calls everybody that.

FC, you always bring a smile to my face. Your link to some guy's mug shot was precious.

Posted by: Carlos at March 22, 2005 07:41 AM

FC - please stop using the phrase "no brain". You didn't provide a link to the actual text written by the Chief of Neurology at Case Western University, (although it’s a very nice photo) but even without seeing the text I know he didn’t use the phrase “no brain”

The brain is responsible for voluntary and involuntary actions. Involuntary actions include breathing and digestion. If a person literally has “no brain”, they don’t breathe and the heart doesn’t beat. Even an English major knows that. The repetition of an obviously false statement is kind of annoying.

Posted by: mary at March 22, 2005 07:44 AM

Dr. Bambakidis is not "some guy." It's like a test to see if you're paying attention. Obviously, you're not.

Posted by: FC at March 22, 2005 07:45 AM

Terri has no functioning Cerebral Cortex. No. Functioning. Cerebral. Cortex. No. Brain.

Now, since we're playing nitpickery, I beg you to go back and start turning your oh-so-accurate glance at the statements made by not me.

Posted by: FC at March 22, 2005 07:47 AM

And Eric is wrong. There are good reasons this case is drawing so much discussion. It's making people think about life and death and guardianship and balance of powers in government and justice and all sorts of things. Plus it's a riveting forensic mystery story. I could see it as a PD James novel. If Eric doesn't want to read about it he can use his mouse to click to something else. Or turn off his PC and read a book.

But this stuff is all over my internet ;-)
Seriously though, maybe I wanna look at some sites just a little bit. But if I do this stuff is literally inescapable. This is why I actually agree to some extent with the social conservative position on obscenity. It's all well and good to say switch your radio dial or turn off your TV, but when something you find objectionable is so all-pervasive in a medium you'd like to enjoy from time to time, what are you to do?

And it's not getting people to think about those issues, it's inspiring them to yell at each other based on their preconceived ideas. (I include my own output in this of course.) The whole process has been no more edifying or illuminating than when pro-life and pro-choice groups get in each other's faces and yell at each other at the Washington mall or whatever.

Posted by: Eric Deamer at March 22, 2005 07:48 AM

DELAY: "No care for 15 years. No therapy. No nothing," DeLay said, his voice awash in scorn. "What kind of man is that?"

Delay was being generous. I believe Mr. Schiavo may have even have been trying to hasten Terri's death all these years:

Affidavit of Carla Iyer, nurse who cared for Terri Schiavo from April 1995 to July 1996.

"To the best of my recollection, rehabilitation had been ordered for Terri, but I never saw any being done or had any reason at all to believe that there was ever any rehab of Terri done at Palm Gardens while I was there. I became concerned because Michael wanted nothing done for Terri at all, no antibiotics, no tests, no range of motion therapy, no stimulation, no nothing."

"Michael said again and again that Terri should NOT get any rehab, that there should be no
range of motion whatsoever, or anything else. I and a CNA named Roxy would give Terri range of motion anyway. One time I put a wash cloth in Terri's hand to keep her fingers from curling together, and Michael saw it and made me take it out, saying that was therapy."

Throughout my time at Palm Gardens, Michael Schiavo was focused on Terri's death. Michael would say "When is she going to die?," "Has she died yet?" and "When is that bitch gonna die?" These statements were common knowledge at Palm Gardens, as he would make them casually in passing, without regard even for who he was talking to, as long as it was a staff member. Other statements which I recall him making include "Can't anything be done to accelerate her death - won't she ever die?" When she wouldn't die, Michael would be furious. Michael was also adamant that the family should not be given information. He made numerous statements such as "Make sure the parents aren't contacted."

more:

http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1006944/posts

Posted by: Carlos at March 22, 2005 08:07 AM

This whole situation is tragic of course. The main thing that's troubling me is why is Terri's husband forcing this on the rest of her family? If her parents and siblings feel she has a chance to improve, are willing to take care of her and get the therapy she needs, why would her husband so doggedly insist Terri die? Medical experts certainly can't agree on Terri's possiblities for improvement, there is apparently some question as to what exactly Terri's wishes would be. So why not err on the side of her chances at life and her immediate family and let them take care of her?

Posted by: Diana M at March 22, 2005 08:15 AM

Michael,
Thanks for shutting up about this. I think this country has better things to think and worry about.

For instance, that Israel is seriously expanding its largest West Bank settlement(today's NYT). Check out the interview also with Henry Siegman, former president of the American Jewish Congress, now director of the Council on Foreign Relations US/Middle East project. He maintains that the chances for peace are slim to none given the continuing enormous expansion of settlements in
the West Bank. Siegman is not some left-leaning, Palestinian hugging lightweight. He says that unless Bush intervenes very forcefully with Sharon, Sharon's facts on the ground will preclude any viable Palestinian state. All that will be available will be several pockets of Palestinian territory surrounded Israeli territory. I have always been a strong supporter of Israel, and always thought such claims were exaggerated and biased, but Siegman has got me convinced because his credentials are impeccable.

Posted by: miriam at March 22, 2005 08:17 AM

when something you find objectionable is so all-pervasive in a medium you'd like to enjoy from time to time, what are you to do?

You write your own stuff. Which you do. Which is good.

Posted by: mary at March 22, 2005 08:17 AM

I’m mostly interested in this case because it throws a light on our very strange attitudes towards death. Why does the Florida court think it’s better to starve someone slowly to death than to kill them quickly? Why is it against the law for a close relative or a doctor to kill that same person after the court has sentenced them to die? We allow the state to have the power of life and death, but if the state isn’t willing to take responsibility for their actions, do they deserve our trust?

I don’t want to live like Terri is now, and I wouldn’t want to die that way either. I don’t think many people would, but many do. Medical technology allows many to rot slowly away as they age. Many older people die that way, and many who haven’t reached that point dread it.

We often see images of sudden death that we see on TV, but we keep the slow death of the aged hidden away, despite the fact that this is, statistically our most likely future.

Strangely enough, the culture that I criticize the most, Saudi Arabia, has a more reasonable attitude than we do about natural death. They show children how an undertaker cares for a body, and they tell them that everyone dies. The kids don’t want to hear it, but they need to.

We don’t want to hear it either. Are we afraid of death or are we afraid of dying? Is there anything that we can do to change the way we die?

We need to think about it and plan ahead, because it’s going to happen. The Terri Schavio story brings these issues to light, and we need that.

Posted by: mary at March 22, 2005 08:21 AM

95-96 -> Terri had already been evaluated with no hope of a meaningful recovery and Michael had accepted this and moved on. The parents had already accused Michael of all kinds of things without evidence, a process they began as soon as money showed up from the litigation. Stop listening to the far right wing - they're misleading you, and you're trying to mislead others.

Posted by: FC at March 22, 2005 08:22 AM

As evil and disgusting as it is, terrorists chopping a person's head off is more humane than what the State of Florida and Mr. Schiavo are doing to Terri. However, both actions are about equally undignifed and cruel.

Deliberately killing by starvation is a horrible way to die and an insult to humanity. Big surprise the Left is all for it.

Posted by: TP at March 22, 2005 08:27 AM

mary:

Americans, by which I mean Americans of the majority "anglo-normative" culture are deeply, utterly, completely, and pathetically afraid of death, afraid of dying, and afraid of everything remotely connected.

I've seen funerals in Brazil with people throwing clumps of dirt in the casket while heaving full-body sobs. I've seen Cantonese and Taiwanese Buddhist funerals with the chanting and the incense and the open weeping and dropping flowers into the casket while it's in the ground and everyone joining hands in a circle and going around the body three times to say goodbye.

And I've seen American funerals where everyone tries not to show emotion and where you don't even see the casket being put in the ground.

Americans want to live forever and are very uncomfortable talking or thinking about death. (Which is why so few people have living wills for one thing.) I think this part of the reason why the idea that Terry Schiavo may have actually wanted to die, doesn't even enter into the calculcations of those on the Schindler's side of the debate. It's not even mentioned as a possibility. The idea that you wanted want to cling to life, no matter how low the quality is just assumed of everyone.

Posted by: Eric Deamer at March 22, 2005 08:36 AM

Stop listening to the far right wing - they're misleading you, and you're trying to mislead others.

FC,

it's a nurse's testimony, not "the far Right", you ghoul.

Read the rest of her transcript folks. She has no reason to lie, and every reason not to. And there are two other nurses who've signed affidavits too.

Posted by: Carlos at March 22, 2005 08:36 AM

I would strongly recommend the following page, which is chock full of linky goodness:

http://abstractappeal.com/schiavo/infopage.html

Posted by: Dave Ruddell at March 22, 2005 08:52 AM

As evil and disgusting as it is, terrorists chopping a person's head off is more humane than what the State of Florida and Mr. Schiavo are doing to Terri. However, both actions are about equally undignifed and cruel.

With this statement I think we've officially reached the point of no return on this debate. How even the most fervent supporter of Terri's parents can believe this is incredible. I don't think any scale can measure the horror but what the terrorists did to Nick Berg is at least 100 times worse. Starving an unconcious brain-damaged person to death is certainly not a meritorious deed but you have really lost all perspective if you can make the statement above with a straight face. I understand there is a lot of emotion involved but think about what you are saying.

Posted by: Vanya at March 22, 2005 09:05 AM

Priscilla,

You may know how to read a CAT scan, I'm the first to admit that I'm not a neuroscientist. However, I do know a neurologist and have spoken with him. He jumped on the Internet, found a graphic of the CAT scan (and one of a normal human brain) and explained it to me.

According to him, it works like this:

See the two big blue bubbles in the center of the picture? Those are ventricles. Ventricles are small compartments or empty spaces in the body and organs.

Terri's ventricles now exist where once her Crebreal Cortex existed. The area which once held her higher brain functions are no longer there. Around the edges we see the parts of the brain that still exist. These area deal with the lower brain functions (sometimes called the fish brain or lizard brain). These are the areas of the brain that control involuntary muscles and make breating and heartbeat possible without conscious thought. These areas still work in Terri's brain.

So, Terri does have a brain. Its capabilities are somewhere in the fish/lizard realm. However, the other parts of Terri's brain are gone. Unlike a muscle, nerve cells apparently don't return from atrophy as there has been no evidence found to support any hypothesis that nerve cells can regenerate. In Mr. Reeves situation, his brain functions were normal. His spinal functions were gone. That means that Mr. Reeves was still just as much Mr. Reeves as he has always been... he could simply no longer exert control from his brain to his physical body. He could, and did communicate quite well. He could process thought, he could reason, he could remember. Terri no longer has the necrssary physical matter with which to do anything of the sort.

This is only a question, apparently in the world of politics, neuroscience is clear on the subject.

And I would trust a Neuroscientist's opinion before I'd trust a politicans.

Posted by: Ratatosk at March 22, 2005 09:26 AM

And of course the obvious follow-up question to Rat's analysis is, "would you knowingly starve a lizard or a fish to death"?

It's a measure of how irrational we are about death that what we wouldn't do to a lizard we would do to a human reduced to the same neurological level.

I'm still agnostic on whether Terri should be maintained or let go (I just don't trust that I'm getting good information right now); on the other hand, I can't believe the barbarism forced on her body if the right thing to do would be to let her die.

Posted by: Mark Poling at March 22, 2005 09:38 AM

Let's see:

Now: Terri starves to death because her husband says she wouldn't want to live in this condition.

5 years from now: America begins following the Netherlands policy of euthenising babies that with certain medical care, could live.

10 years from now: People in nursing homes start "disappearing" because, as we all know, no one would want to live in a nursing home.

20 years from now: Factory harvesting of cloned grown babies commences in a desperate attempt to restore vigor to the increasingly aging boomer populace, lest they be viewed as "inconvenient" and they disappear too.

Yup. Brave new world, here we come. Embrace the culture of death.

Posted by: Sydney Carton at March 22, 2005 09:50 AM

Everyone, in my opionon, should probably read the material found at the link offered by Dave Ruddell above. I think it may be the least opinionated, most reasoned and thoughtful collection of information on this case, that I have yet seen.

http://abstractappeal.com/schiavo/infopage.html

This Florida lawyer lays out clearly, without judging or voting on way or another, exactly what the legal situation is and what is and is not sensational bullshit. I found his statements thoughtful, well reasoned and best of all, backed up with facts.

Terri's life or death, in my opinion are immaterial at this point. I have always believed, even when an ardent supporter of the Judeo-Christain value systems, that conscious thought was necessary for human life. In my Christian days, I felt that once you could no longer praise God, speak of Him, do his Will or at the very least silently pray to him, then you were no longer alive in any meaningful sense. As I have modified my views and left the reality tunnel of christianity, to examine other reality tunnels, I find this is a persistant thought.

As a Chaos magician, I think that experiences may be key to life. Any bio-system that stagnates, be it a pool of water, or a human brain, is dead. Without experiencing life, how could one possibly be alive.

In my view, Terri Schaivo seems as dead as my grandfather. the only question is if we should keep the corpse around or not. I don't care if her apparently misguided parents want to keep her around (I wonder about the effect on their mental health, but...).

I do care if Statist politicans (which Mr. Bush seems to be), start meddling in areas that they are not suited to, nor were they designed to adjudge.

Posted by: Ratatosk at March 22, 2005 09:51 AM

" Starving an unconcious brain-damaged person to death"

Starving ANY HUMAN BEING to death is inhumane. If you wish to kill her, please give her a lethal injection or some other form of quick, painless death. You might want to close your eyes on this, but deliverately starving someone to death is a horrible way to kill someone and there are other more humane methods.

You telling more about your position here than I am Vanya. I understand there are times when you must kill someone, but it is insulting to humanity to kill someone in this fashion. I wouldn't support starvation of terrorists (at Abu Garib for example) or to use dehydration to execute serial killers, so why I would I support it in the state of Florida for an innocent woman?

Posted by: TP at March 22, 2005 09:54 AM

Rat: Even if she is "dead" in your mind, why would you treat her body in such an undignified manner? Would it bother you if I dug up Gramps and tore his corpse to pieces? Would it bother your family? Your community? You bet it would. After all, Gramps was a person and people should be treated with more dignity.

All you "killers" out there should grow a set and advocate lethal injection. You want her dead, so don't be a coward about it and end it quickly and in a more dignified matter.

Posted by: TP at March 22, 2005 09:59 AM

Sydney Carton,

Are you serious? How completely full of bullshit is the dogma that you've swallowed? Your statements are nothing more than fear mongering. Florida State Law clearly states that feeding and hydration tubes count as life support. Several State laws, including the one in Texas, signed by GW Bush, permit individuals to be removed from 'life support'. Florida has laws that also permit this.

There is no culture of death, there is no nursing home extermination program, you are hip deep in someone's dogma and it's causing 'cognative dissonance'. You're having an emotional response instead of a logical one. In this case, you apparently ignore all the facts, details and science that doesn't support your opinion, then you make up shit straight out of science-fiction to support your stance.

That is actually cognative dissonance (as opposed to the incorrect way in which the term is often bandied about here), your emaotions are stopping you from processing rational thought.

You need help. Or you need to help yourself.

Tosk

Posted by: Ratatosk, Squirrel of Discord at March 22, 2005 10:01 AM

TP,

Grandpa is dead. This means that Grandpa is dead. There may still be a rotting corpse around, and if you desire to play the ghoul... I can give you directions to his grave. It's immaterial.

If Christians are right, then Grandpa is in Heaven or Hell. If the evolutionists are right, then he's just returning to his base nutrients, same if the Jews are right. If the Buddhists are right, then he's already (or soon will) reincarnate.

In fact, unless we go back to Egypt or other early tribal religions, no modern belief system places any importance on the physical body.

Now, if you want us to pull your brain out through your nose and bury a couple cats with your mummified remains, we can do that. I don't think it will help you, but I don't know for sure.

Tosk

Posted by: Ratatosk, Squirrel of Discord at March 22, 2005 10:06 AM

>>>"Florida State Law clearly states that feeding and hydration tubes count as life support."

Tosk,

you, like everybody else, claims to be the keeper of all the facts. You aren't. They aren't letting anybody feed or hydrate Terri without tubes either, so what do you call that? "letting her die"? NO. They're killing her. Preventing ANY hydration/feeding methods goes beyond merely removing her from "life support."

Posted by: Carlos at March 22, 2005 10:06 AM

Ratatosk: "There is no culture of death."

There isn't? How many abortions were there last year? How many people died in France during that heat wave because it was too inconvenient to turn on the air conditioners? Recently we learned that the Netherlands is euthanizing much more babies than previously thought, and in Britian doctors are performing abortions on kids with minor abnormalities that can easily be corrected. And how many people are clammoring for cloning babies so they can harvest their stem cells in an attempt to regain youthful vigor? Hell, even Instapundit calls aging a "disease" that he hopes can be cured. Cured with what, I wonder? And how would society view such people as "diseased" with age?

Witness your wordsmithing to dehumanize Terri, calling her a "corpse." How lovely. Who else is a corpse to you?

Oh sure, there's no culture of death. Nope. Not at all.

Posted by: Sydney Carton at March 22, 2005 10:15 AM

Dear Tosk aka "The Last Man": Florida State Law also says depriving someone of food and water is murder, go figure.

She isn't dead yet Tosk and you know you have no way to prove she isn't suffering. I know I have no way to prove she is either, but I would rather error on the side of minimizing pain and suffering, but I am just a "far right winger" so what do I know?

But Tosk wants to treat a breathing human being as a piece of meat. He wouldn't treat his cat or dog in such an undignified and inhumane manner. Never mind that if she is dying or nearly dead, she was still a human being. But really he is slapping his own humanity in the face. Which is really sad.

Posted by: TP at March 22, 2005 10:18 AM

Carlos,

Would it make you feel better if we shoved some food in her mouth and let her choke to death? Would that salve your useless dogmatic claptrap?

Dead is dead. Her ability to feel is gone. The part of the brain that deals with pain, hunger etc is no longer able to translate the electrical signals it recieves into anything meaningful. If the CPU blew up on your computer, the video card may still have power, the keyboard may still light up, but you're not going anywhere.

I don't mind someone occasionally being misinformed. That's why I made the lighthearted comment yesterday about you getting your information from Hannity. However, to persist in being misinformed, indeed to apparently roll around in it like a pig in the mire, is simply rude. I recommend you either familiarize yourself with the facts of the case, not just one sides version of the facts... or, go talk to a neurologist. If you visit your local hospital, I'm sure they can set up a time where you could have a short conversation. If there is a university nearby, go find the head of their medical dept and ask if they have someone who can explain the basics of neurology to you.

I don't expect people to be informed on everything. Hell, I sure am not... but I do expect that if someone finds out that they don't know what they're talking about, they either shut up or go get educated on the subject. Is that too much to expect out of a person that I'm debating?

Great googlie mooglie!

Tosk

Posted by: Ratatosk, Squirrel of Discord at March 22, 2005 10:23 AM

"Would it make you feel better if we shoved some food in her mouth and let her choke to death?"

This method would be more painless, humane, quicker and more dignified than starving her to death. A lethal injection would be even better, but then those who are killing her would have to take accountability for their actions instead being cowards.

But then again, some of us have dignity as human beings are not death-worshiping slave-morality "last men" like yourself.

Posted by: TP at March 22, 2005 10:48 AM

TP,

you know you have no way to prove she isn't suffering.

Let me state this again, because apparently your understanding of science is somehow pre-Piccolomini (1586 AD). Piccolomini was the first scientist to discover the difference between Cortex and the rest of the brain, gasp we've known for 419 years that there is a difference between the cortex and everything else made out of our grey matter. Since that time, we have come to understand much of how the cortex functions, and by extention how we precieve, feel and think.

Let me state this clearly, hundreds of years of scientific research has proven in experiments, that lack of a crebreal cortex, by defination, means a lack of pain and, indeed, a lack of conscious thought. This isn't maybe, this isn't possibly. Brain scans, in modern tests show which areas "light up" when a person is sent pain stimuli. Some of the key areas that light up are in the place where Terri has NO FUCKING CELLS, NONE, THEY'RE GONE, THEY CAN'T GROW BACK BECAUSE NERVE CELLS CAN'T BE REGENERATED, WITHOUT A CENTRL CORTEX, SHE CANNOT FEEL. Is that clear enough? Or do you somehow think that your patheticly undereducated grey matter is somehow superior to hundreds of years of research?

Do you think? Or do you spout dogma?

Sydney,

Whoo! Worldwide Culture Of Death! MY GOD PEOPLE DIE!!!! AGHHHHHHHAGGHHHH!!! Lord Save Us and Preserve Us, we might AGGHHHGHHHHHHH Die!

Oh wait, thats right, people have died ever since there were people. Some people die for stupid reasons, like oh... not turning on their air conditioners. Other people die because they choose to euthanize themselves (or their legal guardian euthanizes them) and some people have abortions.

Well, Sydney, guess what. People have died from being stupid, people have been euthanized and people have had abortions for thousands of years. The only difference now, is that the news media makes big noises and fools like you dive head first into the portajohn of Mass Media.

Good for you. Keep up that non-thinking... in fact, maybe you could donate your brain to Terri, since it would appear that you're not using it.

I learned about where the pain centers of the brain were in High School (and it wasn't a particularly advanced high school at that). While the statist crap from the feds is bothersome, I'm beginning to think that the absolute ignorance of basic science, on the part of many people here, would seem even more concerning. How is it that a person can make blatently false statements, verifably false statements, be shown that they're verifably false... and still persist in arguing them? It is beyond me to concieve that I would believe so fervently, that unbiased facts would not move me to change my mind. Hell, I actually think I may have been wrong on Iraq.

Sorry if this post seemed harsh but willful ignorance, in a time when the facts are a fucking google away is simply unacceptable in useful debate.

Posted by: Ratatosk, Squirrel of Discord at March 22, 2005 10:49 AM

This method would be more painless

Jesus Christ TP, how many times will you have to be told SHE CAN:T FEEL ANYTHING. NO PAIN. NO PAIN. NO PAIN IF SHE LIVES, NO PAIN IF SHE CHOKES, NO PAIN IF SHE STARVES. She cannot process the electrical impulses from her nervous system, they'll send pain signals but there's no one home to answer the door.

We could string her up and skin her alive and she wouldn't feel a thing. You're wrong, you're incorrect, you're simply fooling yourslef, spouting lies someone else told you, or ... well I won't attribute to malice what can be explained in other ways.

Posted by: Ratatosk, Squirrel of Discord at March 22, 2005 10:56 AM

I've seen American funerals where everyone tries not to show emotion and where you don't even see the casket being put in the ground.

A lot of other cultures have better ways of dealing with death. I’ve seen emotionless Irish-American funerals, but at least we have decent wakes :-)

It’s a good thing that questions about living wills and the right to die are being raised, but I don’t think this administration should answer them.

If you asked most people if they would want to live the way Terri is living, they’d probably say no. If you asked them if they want to be starved, they’d say no. Americans, especially baby boomers, can be very adamant about these things, and as we all know, they make their voices heard. Hopefully, people will start talking about this issue more, even after (if) Terri’s case is resolved.

Posted by: mary at March 22, 2005 10:56 AM

TP: A lethal injection would be even better, but then those who are killing her would have to take accountability for their actions instead being cowards.

That won't happen because it's illegal, not (necessarily) because anyone is a coward. That law isn't going to be changed before this case is settled.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at March 22, 2005 11:03 AM

Odd how you keep coming back to the "pain" point and avoid how cowardly, cruel, de-humanizing and undignified starvation is as a method of killing. The "pain" point is certainly debatable, but my argument does not soley rest on it. (Though your "point" relies mostly on the fallacy of appeal to authority.)

Even if she felt nothing, it is still horrible and cruel to those who love her, her memory as a person and to everyone who was dignity as a human being. The fact you acting out like a child on the "pain" issue alone only shows how close to the bone my other points hit.

Posted by: TP at March 22, 2005 11:06 AM

Ratatosk,

You didn't answer my question. Who else do you consider a corpse? Anyone else you'd like to place into the "not human" column?

And pardon me, but who's not thinking here? Every day we're learning of new taboos being broken. First it was just plain old abortions. Now it's abortions for people who don't get the baby they want, if it's not blond haired or blue eyed, forget it. Then it's harvesting babies for medical reasons. Then it's mass deaths in nursing homes due to neglect. Then it's cloning people to harvest the organs. We know that in the Netherlands euthenasia may be imposed over the objections of the elderly victim or the family. And then in this situation, we get a judge condemning a woman to die based on hearsay of her husband, and you say she's already a corpse. Why not just put a bullet in her brain? Oh, I'm sorry. You don't think she HAS a brain, or at least one that counts. The left weeps more when trees are cut down than they are for this woman... er, corpse.

"We could string her up and skin her alive and she wouldn't feel a thing."

Keep on with that sort of thinking, and you won't be very far from actually doing that. Evil begets evil, you moron.

Posted by: Sydney Carton at March 22, 2005 11:08 AM

Michael: The case is already settled, she is nearly dead from starvation and dehydration. But this won't settle the ethical issues (as much as those who favor starving her pretend it will).

Posted by: TP at March 22, 2005 11:13 AM

"Last Man"

This term kept niggling at the back of my head until I remembered whence it came. Surprisingly (how could I have forgotten) it cam from one of my favorite Nietzsche quotes:

the entire quote located below
http://www.pitt.edu/~wbcurry/nietzsche/nuber.html

The main quote I wanted to point out is here:

'We have invented happiness,'say the last men, and they blink. They have left the regions where it was hard to live, for one needs warmth. One still loves one's neighbor and rubs against him, for one needs warmth...
One still works, for work is a form of entertainment. But one is careful lest the entertainment be too harrowing. One no longer becomes poor or rich: both require too much exertion. Who still wants to rule? Who obey? Both require too much exertion.
No shepherd and one herd! Everybody wants the same, everybody is the same: whoever feels different goes voluntarily into a madhouse.
'Formerly, all the world was mad,' say the most refined, and they blink...
One has one's little pleasure for the day and one's little pleasure for the night: but one has a regard for health.
'We have invented happiness,' say the last men, and they blink."

Supporting scientific evidence that someone no longer has the capacity to think, feel or act is not being a 'last man'. In fact, I think those on here that know me through my postings, would probably not consider me a 'last man'.

Though I do identify with another quote from that same body. One that is enshrined in the margins of The Principia Discordia, and one I have held close to my heart since first reading Nietzsche in 11th grade:

"I say unto you: one must still have chaos in oneself to be able to give birth to a dancing star. I say unto you: you still have chaos in yourselves.

Tosk

Posted by: Ratatosk, Squirrel of Discord at March 22, 2005 11:14 AM

Evil begets evil, you moron.

Awesome. Such edifying debate. Such felicitous phrasing. Comment of the day. So far . . .

Posted by: Eric Deamer at March 22, 2005 11:26 AM

The opposite of the Last Man are those who embrace Life. You are only dehumanizing yourself. Maybe you should just starve yourself and get it over with. But I will still call it a dehumanizing way to end life.

Posted by: TP at March 22, 2005 11:31 AM

I was not aware that life existed only in our heads.

So if only 'parts of her brain are gone' and Terry just needs a feeding tube for survival while Christopher Reeves entire body was incapacitated, jacked-up on mulitiple life-support systems why then make the distinction between unplugging her life and unplugging his?

I also think about the advancements made in rehabilitation since the time of Terry's accident and Reeves's accident unfortunately for terry her husband believes she died 15 years ago so Terry missed many of opportunities Reeves afforded during the past several years.

I do find some irony in that Terry is the reason why we research embroynic stem cell cures. So, is this the path our society is willing to take, terminating a disabled life while at the same time using 'disgarded' embryos to cure?
Sorry, since we all live in our heads I can't identify with this type of reasoning.

I am in agreement that to starve Terry to death is horrific, especially given the statement 'only parts of her brain are gone'. If those who have already determined her dead then why not have the guts to inject her with a feel good drug, move-on and wait for the next completely incapacitated celebrity to woe your emotions into celebrating some cause that makes you feel Enlightened.

Posted by: susan at March 22, 2005 11:50 AM

"Such edifying debate."

Eric, perhaps to you and Ratatosk I'm merely considered a "corpse" because I don't meet your standards of thinking.

But to your greater point, I'm not going to dignify an argument for dehumanization by treating it or its perveyors with respect. You're the guys who want to kill people, not me. Didn't Ratatosk say that she could be skinned alive? If that doesn't give you pause, then you're already too gone to discuss this issue any further.

Posted by: Sydney Carton at March 22, 2005 11:53 AM

You're the guys who want to kill people, not me

Please. You're arguing at the level of a leftist anti-war protester who thinks anyone who was for the Iraq war just wanted to kill people for furn.

Posted by: Eric Deamer at March 22, 2005 11:56 AM

Sydney and TP,

You know, if it would make idiots like the two of you shut the hell up, I too would rather see her shot in the head. She can no longer function in ANY meaningful way. She can no longer have ideas, thoughts, shes can't love, hate or believe, she cannot feel pain.

It matters not to her, how we end her life.

Though your "point" relies mostly on the fallacy of appeal to authority

You can always tell the posters that never took a class on debate. they find some webpage with big sounding words and apply them in a hodge/podge wherever they fail to use logic.

Lets have Debate 101, subject "fallacy of appeal to authority". Pay attention TP, your brain might yet be saved from atrophy.

In debate, there are times when we must rely on an outsiders testimony, in areas where we do not have the time to form our own informed opinion. This is particularly ture in the medical world. IF we are debating cancer, for example, we would have to rely on the expert opinions of doctors who have researched and treated cancer. If we are discussing neuroscience, we must, unless we're all gonna take 8 years of college, rely on the expert opinions of neurologists.

There are a number of ways that a debate can correctly use expert testimony, and there are a number of ways one can incorrectly rely on the "fallacy of appeal to authority".

First, if you are going to debate a subject, using information from an 'authority' on the matter, make sure that the appeal is necessary. If we can come to a conclusion by observation then there is no need to appeal to an authority. Ergo, we needn't appeal to Gallileo in order to debate gravity.

Second, an appeal to authority is sometimes impossible, or the authority you cite may not truly be an authority. There may be no real experts, only some people claiming to be experts. I wouldn't quote Peter Carroll, the Chaos magician as an authority on anything, because his statements are unverifiable.

Sometimes the authority has a vested intrest in the issue. IF someone has a stake in the debate, they may well be biased in their 'authority'. In other words, don't quote the company study that states that Vioxx is safe.

Sometimes the authority is an authority on one subject and ignorant of another. The Pope may be a great authority for Catholic Belief and Biblical interpertation, but he's not a neurologist and therefore unqualified to be used as an authority on such a subject.

So let's ask ourselves if using neurologists statements concerning Terri's brain is a "fallacy of appeal to authority".

Question 1:
Do we have enough knowledge to intelligently discuss Terri's brain, without the statements of Neurology and neuroscience?

I would say no, unless we have neuroscientists here, that have remained silent.

Is valid expert testimony available?

I would say yes, since we've had research available on the central cortex for 419 years. We have people that operate on brains every day. So yes, I would say that they are likely experts on the topic of the brain.

Is the authority biased?

Well, perhaps... this is tricky, since there could be a secret cabal of neuroscientists who have spent the last 100 years or so making up lies about how the brain works, just to fuck with people.

However, since I have yet to determine that my High School Biology teacher, the people who wrote my biology book, and my friend who is a neuroscientist are part of the cabal, I'll suppose that they might be disinterested in Terri's particular case.

Finally, is the expert opinion representative of ALL expert opinion, or at least most expert opinion on the matter?

Once again, the neurosciences are overwhelmingly in support of the idea that a Central Cortex is necessary for higher brain functions.

End of Class, there will be a test. (Probably the next time one of you make some noise about "fallacy of blah" without actually learning what it means.

In fact, for anyone on this blog... if you haven't taken a class on debate:

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/search-handle-form/102-6634857-3926516

Go there, buy a book, read it, then post. You might actually sound intelligent.

Posted by: Ratatosk, Squirrel of Discord at March 22, 2005 11:58 AM

Gee, Ratatosk, try not to let your salivation over the thought of Terri's death ruin your keyboard. Some people might take it as an indication you can't swallow and they'll try to kill you also.

Last I checked, trees have no higher brain functions. And yet the left is willing to chain itself to a redwood to prevent it from being cut down, but will do nothing for the protection of Terri.

Your priorities betray you.

Posted by: Sydney Carton at March 22, 2005 12:08 PM

Sydney,

Didn't Ratatosk say that she could be skinned alive? If that doesn't give you pause, then you're already too gone to discuss this issue any further.

That's right Sydney, I meant that "Literally". In fact, I think it would be just great to skin her, tan the hide and turn it into a nice Terri suit, ala "House of 1000 Corpses". Then we can wear her around and scare people on halloween. Yeah, thats what I meant, you moron.

And of course, TP, who apparently needs TP for his oral diarrhea spews:

The opposite of the Last Man are those who embrace Life

Ah, I am so glad that you understand Nietzche.

holds his sides to keep from turning into the Last Man exploding from laughter

Go get an education of some sort, please. Don't believe the people who tell you that education is from Satan. Go, learn, explore and please, for the love of whatever you believe graced your cranium with a brain, think for yourself, schmuck.

Ratatosk, Squirrel of Discord

Posted by: Ratatosk, Squirrel of Discord at March 22, 2005 12:12 PM

I think something's being lost here in this discussion of brain functions and neurology.

Terri is a human being, but is severely diabled. She may be beyond hope of recovery. But she is alive. All she needs to survive is food, like anyone else. The right to receive food is not dependent on anyone's mental state. Starving a dog is a crime, too. Terri is a human being. All the talk of her brain functions will never change that.

I'm not going to be a party to a crowd that finds excuses to starve people, no matter their condition. If you wouldn't do it to an animal, then it shouldn't happen to Terri.

Posted by: Sydney Carton at March 22, 2005 12:17 PM

Ratatosk, thanks for the timeline link; I'd been thinking more about the current ethical situation, and I was pretty negligent on getting the entire history. Again, since I don't require heroes or villians in this story, even reaind the history closely I can imagine noble motives on the parts of both the parents and the husband. But what really jumps out is that your God of Discord sure didn't skimp with the irony stick on the Schiavos:

1. Terri starves herself (bulimia) into a heart attack.

2. Michael sues her doctors for allowing her to starve herself into the heart attack.

3. Terri is kept alive for years because medical professionals feed her through a tube in her stomach.

4. Michael now wants her doctors to starve her until her body dies. (One presumes that's not what he wants, but it is the only legal means to the end he believes Terri would want).

Seriously creepy...

Posted by: Mark Poling at March 22, 2005 12:19 PM

"I meant that "Literally"."

Well, you also said it doesn't matter to her how we end her life. Those two statements are entirely compatible.

Posted by: Sydney Carton at March 22, 2005 12:20 PM

She is a vegetable. Let her die.
Her brain is mush.
And we have better things to debate than this woman.

Posted by: bob at March 22, 2005 12:23 PM

Wow, Tosk. Thanks for the debating lesson. But you forgot to add I am "poopie-head" in your enlightened post.

Maybe you need to go back on the playground, chew some crayons and throw rocks at people, as reasoned debate seems to be something you in your enlightened glory can't seem to handle.

You still have addressed my central points. Shall I consider you check-mated then? I hope so, maybe somebody can use your bandwith to actually have a converstaion about this important ethical topic.

Posted by: TP at March 22, 2005 12:25 PM

Dave Ruddell and Ratatosk have both referenced the following link, which I also highly recommend:
http://abstractappeal.com/schiavo/infopage.html

I particularly recommend the Guardian Ad Litem's report of December 2003:
http://abstractappeal.com/schiavo/WolfsonReport.pdf

I have my opinions, and my opinions have been modified after reading some of the material at this site. However there is far too much shouting going on, and I'm not going to add fuel to the fire.

There are no ideal answers in this case. There are only imperfect, fallible people trying to do the best (as they see it) in a tragic situation.

Posted by: VinoVeritas at March 22, 2005 12:25 PM

Jesus Sydney do you ever shut up long enough to think about what you're saying?

Last I checked, trees have no higher brain functions. And yet the left is willing to chain itself to a redwood to prevent it from being cut down, but will do nothing for the protection of Terri.

Your priorities betray you.

Last I checked, I don't give a flying fuck about the redwood and have, to my memory never chained myself nor anyone else to such a plant. Nor have I protested against meat, fur, the spotted owl or any other such nonsense. I do NOT believe that the government should protect our wildlife or our natural resources. I think our government should deal with what its good at, economics and national defense.

You are either an idiot or willfully ignorant. I don't know which. In fact, I don't know what exactly is wrong with you... but I'm willing to bet it has root words from latin and is difficult to pronounce.

Your wide, broad brush assumptions and basic lack of anything remotely resembling debating skills... betray you.
-----------------
You know, when I was a little boy, I had a cat named Mouse (and people wonder why I'm strange...). I loved that cat very much, but this idiot a few houses away didn't like cats. One day, Mouse was out in the field behind our house and the bastard shot her with a pellet gun.

Two days later she drug the back half of her body back to our house. The pellet has severed the spinal cord about halfway down.

We spent a lot of money to try to save her, but eventually we had her put down. I cried for a week, then I went to that man's house and told him exactly how much that cat meant to me. Then I kicked him in the nuts. My parents spanked me for that and made me apologize.

I don't want anything to die, if it can be saved. However, if it cannot be saved in any meaningful way, then as with any animal on our old homestead and those of the farms of beautiful SE Ohio, ending its pitiable existence is a kindness.

I would be much happier if Florida allowed injection as a means of euthanisa, but they don't. Due to people who believe that the government can best make decisions for us, Florida Doctors are not permitted by our "Culture of Life" to let this poor womans body rest.

So then we are left with two options:

1. A body, laying in its own feces for the next 20-some years, being fed trhough a tube, without hope, fear, pain or any thought at all. Getting rolled over every couple hours by someone, so she doesn't get bedsores. Then at some point her parents will die and Terri's body will either be removed from life support or become a burden on the State. I'm sure that is exactly what she would want.

2. A body that shuts itself down over the next few days, finally allowing this woman's mortal shell to rest.

For me, the Culture of Life MUST keep in mind that death is inevitable. We can value life, love life, enjoy life, but we all, every one of us, will die. Terri, if she had lived 50 years ago, would be dead already. Science has kept her going against all hope for 15 years and all that has happened is that her brain has further atrophied and her parents have yet to begin to deal with the fact that they have lost their daughter. Even just from a psychological perspective this is a very bad thing. That's it.

If you say she responds to stimuli, you are lying. If you say that she can eat, you are lying. I am tired of pussyfooting around the point. Enough facts have been posted that your statements are no longer a debate, but simple rants of Dogma.

Posted by: Ratatosk, Squirrel of Discord at March 22, 2005 12:37 PM

"We spent a lot of money to try to save her, but eventually we had her put down."

Did you starve it to death? Would you treat in such an inhumane fashion? I bet your parents didn't, but maybe you would now that you are enlightend. Maybe you would flay it or kick it to death and then pat yourself on the back like a good Last Man (but not as a dignified human being).

Posted by: TP at March 22, 2005 12:42 PM

TP,

Let me get this straight....

You make some complete bullshit post like:

"The opposite of the Last Man are those who embrace Life. You are only dehumanizing yourself. Maybe you should just starve yourself and get it over with. But I will still call it a dehumanizing way to end life."

And you expect me ato address your 'central points'? There are no central points to that you illogical buffon. But, sure lets debate TP's brilliant statement.

1. "The opposite of the Last Man are those who embrace Life."

Opinion, backed up by... absolutely nothing. No discussion of how you come to such a conclusion. No discussion of why the opposite of "The Last Man" would want to see a body that no longer has chaos within it, left to rot in a bed, nothing, nada, no information to debate.

2."You are only dehumanizing yourself."

Opinion, backed up by... absolutely nothing. No discussion of how you come to such a conclusion. No discussion about why I'm dehumanizing myself... just your idiotic opinion. Nothing to debate.

3. "Maybe you should just starve yourself and get it over with."

Fuck you. I'm not really sure how else to respond to this statement of... Hail Eris this is so far removed form any sort of debating, that I'm not even sure what to call it...maybe ad hominem, but I'm not even sure it rises to that level of intelligence.

4. "But I will still call it a dehumanizing way to end life."

Opinion. There's nothing to debate. This is your opinion and you have a right to it. Thats it.

There I've answered your 'central cough points'.

Ratatosk, Squirrel of Discord

Posted by: Ratatosk, Squirrel of Discord at March 22, 2005 12:52 PM

Well, some of us may not need villains in this story, but it sure as hell looks like TP and Sydney need some black hats to start shooting at.

Please folks, get a grip. Not all of us who think it might be in Terri's best interest to let her go do so in the hopes Soylent Green will start showing up on McDonalds menus everywhere.

Posted by: Mark Poling at March 22, 2005 12:53 PM

TP,

No we didn't starve her to death, because idiots like you still allow people to decide the best way to end an animals life. If injection wasn't possible, we would have shot her in the head, or smothered her, or strangled her or broke her neck or whatever it took to put her out of her misery. She still had a working cortex, therefore she could still feel.

Terri has no meaningful cortex and is not able to feel. She won't mind starving, she won't mind slowly dying, she won't mind her stomach getting eaten or her back being broken, she won't mind because she has no mind left.

Get it through your thick skull and quit misquoting Nietzche, it makes you sound even more the fool.

Posted by: Ratatosk, Squirrel of Discord at March 22, 2005 12:56 PM

Tosk: See the following: "Posted by TP at March 22, 2005 11:06 AM"

Mark: You can try to hide from the issue, but it won't erase the fact the fact that her manner of death was undignified, cruel, dehumanizing and (possibly) inhumanly painful. Some of us are against starvation as a form of execution, especially for innocent disabled people who have loved ones willing to take care of them. I am not looking for blackhats, only to make it clear her horrible death is not on MY hands.

Posted by: TP at March 22, 2005 01:03 PM

"No we didn't starve her to death, because idiots like you.."

STOP. You have made your first false assumption. I am not a State, so I have no power over how you kill your animal. What I "allow" or not is irrelevent. But I can reason it is inhumane, cruel and undignified to kill animals by beating, torturing, starving or other methods which prolong suffering.

Your second false assumption is that this is only about Terri's body and not about her status as a person (deceased or not), about those who loved her and about how fellow human beings should treat their own (including the highly disabled or helpless).

Your core assumption is that it is undignified or unhumane to leave her in her current state. But to whom? To her? I though she was just a piece of meat. If not, surely starving is even more undignified and inhumane. To society? Well how is starving someone to death dignifying to society? We treat our pets better than that!

(Or maybe I give you too much credit, and you just want to kill her in a horrible undignified manner just to "scare the squares" or "stick to the man" or "f*ch over those evil republican redstaters" or some other pathetic, lame intention.)

PS: You sound like a fool with your false assumptions and childish name-calling.

Posted by: TP at March 22, 2005 01:21 PM

Ok TP,

Fair enough, we'll rerun your post and look at your central giggle points.

Odd how you keep coming back to the "pain" point and avoid how cowardly, cruel, de-humanizing and undignified starvation is as a method of killing.

Opinion, Opinion and yet more opinion. There is nothing that I can debate you on in this statement. There is only your perception that "starvation is cruel, cowardly, etc". I can't debate your perception, because I don't know what you base your perceptions on. You are free to "feel" however you want... but we don't debate with 'feelings', we debate with logic. (I'm not saying that I think starvation is a great way to end someone's life. As I have stated several times, I'd rather she could just be put to sleep... but that unfortunately is not possible (now there is something that congress could have debated)).

The "pain" point is certainly debatable, but my argument does not soley rest on it. (Though your "point" relies mostly on the fallacy of appeal to authority.)

No the pain point is not debatable neither is your complete misunderstanding of "fallacy of appeal". She has no functioning cortex, therefore she cannot feel pain.

Even if she felt nothing, it is still horrible and cruel to those who love her, her memory as a person and to everyone who was dignity as a human being.

Your opinion, again. In my opinion, it is horrible and cruel to those that love her, for their lives to be on pause, waiting for something that will never happen, falling prey to quacks that claim she can recover with therapy and being the center of a idiotic media circus. That is cruel and horrible. Letting a person die, when there is no hope of recovery is in my opinion "compassionate".

But again, we can't really debate broad brush opinions... esp when people like you state them as if they were facts.

The fact you acting out like a child on the "pain" issue alone only shows how close to the bone my other points hit.

Again, opinion, backed up by absolutely nothing...

Boy, TP am I glad I addressed your points. I learned so much about your... opinion and feelings. Just what a debate needs.

Posted by: Ratatosk, Squirrel of Discord at March 22, 2005 01:23 PM

TOSK: "SHE CAN:T FEEL ANYTHING. NO PAIN. NO PAIN. NO PAIN IF SHE LIVES, NO PAIN IF SHE CHOKES, NO PAIN IF SHE STARVES."

What a load of crap. If she responds to stimuli, THEN SHE FUCKING WELL RESPONDS TO PAIN YOU FUCKING MORON. Where the hell are you getting your information anyway? Al Franken???

Posted by: Carlos at March 22, 2005 01:33 PM

Suppose that the case ends up in the Supreme Court which it may. Now suppose that the Supreme Court reverses the decision of the Florida court. Wouldn't that be inventing law through the courts that conservatives dislike so much (e.g. Roe-Wade)? Seems hypocritical to me. What I would like to see from this tragedy is for the people of Florida (and other states) to pressure their representatives to modify their state's statutes to include provisions for the family as well as the guardian in cases such as this. Shouldn't laws be created and modified through the legislatures and not through the courts? If you see the law as bad, cruel, immoral, etc., then work to get the law changed. The law won't change itself. Take some action.

Posted by: Brian at March 22, 2005 01:33 PM

"I'm Shutting Up Now"

Fat lot of fucking good that did.

Posted by: Michael Farris at March 22, 2005 01:36 PM

She is a vegetable. Let her die. Her brain is mush. And we have better things to debate than this woman.

Right. Let's get back to the Gannon/Guckert press corps scandal. Our democracy depends on it.

Posted by: Carlos at March 22, 2005 01:38 PM

TP wisely says: "PS: You sound like a fool with your false assumptions and childish name-calling."

TP also says:

"Maybe you would flay it or kick it to death and then pat yourself on the back like a good Last Man (but not as a dignified human being)."

"you just want to kill her in a horrible undignified manner just to "scare the squares" or "stick to the man" or "f*ch over those evil republican redstaters" or some other pathetic, lame intention."

"The fact you acting out like a child on the "pain" issue alone only shows how close to the bone my other points hit."

"All you "killers" out there should grow a set and advocate lethal injection. You want her dead, so don't be a coward about it and end it quickly and in a more dignified matter."

"You are only dehumanizing yourself. Maybe you should just starve yourself and get it over with."

"This method would be more painless, humane, quicker and more dignified than starving her to death. A lethal injection would be even better, but then those who are killing her would have to take accountability for their actions instead being cowards.

But then again, some of us have dignity as human beings are not death-worshiping slave-morality "last men" like yourself."

Folks, with that great ironic statement, I rest my case and close with this thought.

None of us know what comes after death, we only know that people on this planet eventually cease to function and rot. We hope that there is something else, something beyond, but only those who are there know for sure.

None of us know, for sure, exactly what a soul may be. Perhaps the soul is still conscious inside Terri, perhaps it does not need the brain to be cognizent of what is happening around it. But, we do not know, nor can we until we have passed to the other side (if there is one).

The only thing that any of us KNOW, is based on what we can physically test, measure and observe. Even then those tests and observations are imperfect and often unintentionally biased.

These subjects are for philosophy and spirituality, they are for the individual to determine. To expect a government institution to place legislation of any sort in an area which they are not qualified to do so, is Statism at its worst. Many people here, fear the States intrusion into their finances(SS), their health insurance, the environment, their smoking habits and many other justifable areas. So let me leave you with this question: What is more concerning, a State that legislates your retirement, or a State that legislates philosophy and religion? Keep in mind that those elected may not always agree with your view of religion and philosophy.

Good Night, and May Eris Bless You All

Posted by: Ratatosk, Squirrel of Discord at March 22, 2005 01:40 PM

Speaking of sloppy logic...

" Letting a person die"

Is starving an infant "letting someone" die? Forced starvation is taking life, no matter how hard to pretend it isn't.

And how is starvation NOT cowardly, cruel or inhumane when you admit other methods, which are clearly less cruel and more humane, exist?

Hiding behind the "law" on this issue is just dodging the question. Lethal injection would be possible if the started feeding her and we changed the law to allow it. The "hurry" in this is created by those who favor starvation, and since I do not favor starvation in the first place, the timetable created by the starvers is irrelevent.

We have someone who is alive and shares our humanity (at some level), and we are treating them worse than the way we treat animals, how is this dignified?

Posted by: TP at March 22, 2005 01:45 PM

TP, Terri is going to die. When she's dead the corpse ain't gonna look good, no matter how it happens. (Did a little googling re: bulimia -- seems to be linked to anxieties about appearance and control. Terri has been truly mistreated by fate.)

In a fair world (at least in the fair world of my imagination) Terri would have left a living will, Terri's parents could let her go, and a medical tech licensed by the state could give her a shot and she could be given a decent burial where people who loved her could pay their respects.

I can see the "err on the side of Life" argument -- it is certainly ethically consistent, and it especially makes sense if you truly believe miracles can occur. (Because a walk-on-water kind of miracle is what it's going to take to bring Terri back if her Cerebral Cortex is gone.)

In the previous thread Joseph accused me of projection, and I'm sure there's merit in the charge. She may be living, but the Life that was Terri is gone. I can't imagine a worse way to be dead than what has happened to Terri.

But maybe I'm wrong, so I respect those who want to keep her going as long as possible. And I respect those who would say "euthanasia would possibly be the kindest thing, but not by starvation".

(Tosk, my recollection from my psych classes was that hunger is associated with the most "primitive" areas of the brain. According to Wikipedia -- admittedly a dodgy source, but hey --
In the anatomy of mammals, the hypothalamus is a region of the brain located below the thalamus, forming the major portion of the ventral region of the diencephalon and functioning to regulate certain metabolic processes and other autonomic activities. The hypothalamus links the nervous system to the endocrine system by synthesizing and secreting neurohormones often called releasing hormones because they function by stimulating the secretion of hormones from the anterior pituitary gland — among them, gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH). The neurons that secrete GnRH are linked to the limbic system, which is very involved in the control of emotions and sexual activity. The hypothalamus is also the area of the brain that controls body temperature, hunger and thirst, and circadian cycles.

Does Terri feel anything as her blood sugar drops? No, I don't think so, but that's only because I don't think Terri is there anymore. But the being left in the bed is still a biological entitity, and is probably still churning out all the hormones associated with changing blood chemistry. Do that blood chemistry constitite what we'd call feeling? Beats me, but the question makes me queasy, and at this point we're in trees in the forest territory, so I'll leave it at that.)

So I'll ask again, can we chill on the demonizing a bit? This is all bad enough without imaging those who don't agree with you to be legions of monsters. Thanks.

Posted by: Mark Poling at March 22, 2005 01:48 PM

Tosk: Thanks for not addressing my points.

I think that says everything about your position.

Posted by: TP at March 22, 2005 01:50 PM

"Terri is going to die"

I don't doubt it. We are all going to die someday.

" When she's dead the corpse ain't gonna look good, no matter how it happens."

But those of us alive still have to deal with the consquences of the actions which took her life. To quote Thomas Sowell from above:

"Would I want to be kept alive in Terri Schiavo's condition? No. Would I want to be killed so slowly and painfully? No. Would anyone? I doubt it."

I am not here to demonize. I just want those who are for starvation to take accountability for the cruel, terrible, inhuman way they have treated this person, when we all know there were better ways to end her life.

Posted by: TP at March 22, 2005 01:55 PM

For the nth time, Terri does not respond to stimuli. This is an pernicious, repeated and revolting lie. When will Carlos be banned from this comment board for this kind of behavior?

Mark - the Hypothalimus tells the cortex to be hungry. No cortex, no hunger. The Hypothalimus evaluates hunger by watching chewing and swallowing, along with blood sugar. Terri has not chewed or swallowed anything for a long time, so if she can "feel" hunger, her parents have been starving her for 10 years, and should be locked up.

Posted by: FC at March 22, 2005 02:01 PM

Carlos wrote:

If she responds to stimuli, THEN SHE FUCKING WELL RESPONDS TO PAIN YOU FUCKING MORON. Where the hell are you getting your information anyway? Al Franken???

I actually agree with this statement, to a point. IF she responds to stimuli, then she will respond to pain. The thing is, she's not responding to stimuli. My source on this is not Al Franken, but the page I have previously mentioned:

http://abstractappeal.com/schiavo/infopage.html

I would ask, calmly, where you source is that she does, in fact, respond to stimuli. I have seen portions of video released by her family and posted on terrisfight.net. However, the Florida courts have ruled that these are random reactions, and not purposeful attempts at communiation by Terri. I would be particularly interested in sources that are unconnected (or at least were initially unconnected) to the Schindler family.

Please note that despite what apears to me to be clear evidence that Terri is in a Persistent Vegetative State and that she has no cortical tissue remaining, I still don't really know what should be done in this case. My main concern is countering what appear to be blatant misstatements of the facts.

Posted by: Dave Ruddell at March 22, 2005 02:02 PM

Someone just got arrested for trying to give Terri water. How nice. How loving.

This form of execution is unconstitutional. It's cruel and unusual punishment. And where's the ACLU? Suing the boyscouts, or getting a cross removed from a WWI memorial. If you're so goddam loving, then give her a lethal injection you hypocritical bastards. You're ghouls all of you.

Posted by: Carlos at March 22, 2005 02:03 PM

The people who are advocating the right to die aren’t cowards. The Florida courts are, and that’s the issue that should get attention even if Terri’s case is settled. I signed a living will, but I have no interest in being starved slowly to death, or dying of thirst. Still, I’m not going to tear up the will and say keep me alive at any cost, even if I wind up in Florida. In my opinion, as ways to die go, starvation for two weeks is better than withering for decades. But that’s just me.

We do give the state the power of life and death. In some cases, it's nccessary. It would be nice if they, and we, could accept that responsibility.

Posted by: mary at March 22, 2005 02:10 PM

If she is isn't legally a person (i.e. she's a corpse or piece of meat), how can it be illegal to give her a lethal injection?

Aferall, the State wouldn't be killing her (since the State says she is already dead).

If it's illegal to give her a lethal injection, which means she's a person, how can the State deprive her of substance when it is clearly illegal under Florida law to deprive someone of food or water?

Posted by: TP at March 22, 2005 02:15 PM

FC, as I said, we're in the "tree falling in a forest" part of the debate. However, you're postulating that only a creature with a cerebral cortex can "feel". Just because she's not responsive doesn't mean there isn't something in that bed.

As I've stated repeatedly, I don't think that the "something" is Terri. If it makes you feel better to think of it as a vegetable, that's fine. But biology on every level seems to be pretty adamant about the imperative to survive. Exactly what will be going on in what's left on the bed as the chemistry starts to crash is entirely unknowable. I just have real trouble thinking that it would be nothing at all.

Posted by: Mark Poling at March 22, 2005 02:17 PM

Terri's condition and prognosis are matters of dispute. Some doctors believe that Terri is in a persistent vegetative state while others disagree and believe that she is “minimally conscious.”

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Terri_Schiavo

But none of Terri's doctors maintain she is in a coma. Most Americans have seen footage of Terri interacting with her mother by now and it is hard to ignore the way in which she appears to light up at the sound of her mother’s voice.

"Her parents claim that she smiles, laughs, cries, moves, and makes child-like attempts at speech, that she attempts to say "Mom" or "Dad" or "yeah" when they ask her a question. They claim that when they kiss her, she looks at them and sometimes "puckers up" her lips. They cite the testimony and affidavits of 33 physicians and therapists (including 15 neurologists), who, after reviewing video segments provided by her parents, believe that Mrs. Schiavo should receive further tests and/or would likely respond to therapy. However, only two of these physicians had access to her full medical history and examined her in person. Some of these physicians have claimed that there is a "strong likelihood that Mrs. Schiavo is in a 'minimally conscious state.'"

Posted by: Carlos at March 22, 2005 02:18 PM

people might be interested in these excerpts from the Congressional debate.

Posted by: Katherine at March 22, 2005 02:27 PM

I would like to add my comments to the discussion of the Schiavo mater posted in To Save or Not To Save. Tom says he hasn't been there, I have. Five or six years ago it appeared that my extremely intelligent, well read, well educated and involved mother in her late eighties was losing it. That is a nice way to putit. She did not have Alzheimer's. She had been ill for quite some time with hypertension, depression, pancreatitis, and numerous other frailities of advanced age. When we moved to Oregon from Idaho in 1996 I told her that she was just going to have to keep moving and staying active and to continue to read and watch television and stay involved with the world and her environment. She lived fifty miles away from where I settled but I continued to see her on a weekly, sometime bi monthly basis. I had one sister who was l;iving with her because her husband, at the time an alcoholic, had lost his job and was unable to get employment. My mother took them in, paid for my sister to be re-certified and to recontinue her profession as a medical technolologist. She was thus able to gain employment and became the sole support of herself and her husband. They moved out on their own. My other sister lived in the same town as my mother. It had been apparent to me before I moved back to Oregon that there were problems with my mother's care. She was on hypertensive medication. She became depressed. Her internist prescribed pamelor for her in a low dose as was appropriate for her. She began to experience orthostatic hypotension. Because my mother had lost a sister and her mother in law due to osteoporosis which c aused broken bones and heart failure in their eighties, she was terrified that this would happen to her. Her internist took her off her hypertensive medication. The problem seemed to be solved. What her internist weas probably unaware of was that orthostatic hypotension is often a side effect of antidepresxsive medication. He should have rightly taken her off the antidepressant and not her hypertensive medication. She began to suffer from what sounded like small infarcts. I could tell her state was slightly altered when I spoke to her on the phone. She described some experiences which caused me to contact a doctor i n Portland who specialized in medicating the elderly. I convinced my sister to tqake my mother to him and he agreed that her blood pressure was too high and he added back in the hypertensive meds and decreased the antidepressant. She improived but the damage was already done. My mother could no longer do her double crostics thjat she loved doing, she could not get up and care for herself, full time care was called in. She did not read, she did not watch television. One day she had a stroke in her bowel which shut it down and forced her to have a colostomy. Because of her age, she barely survived. It was then that I returned to Oregon I coulld see the damage and knew that while diminished, she still did have a quality of life that sustained her. Unfortunately three times in one short month, she contact bladder infections, she had difficulty swallowing, and she was not very cognizent of her circumstances and surroundings. The doctors on her case said that her only chance of continued life was through the insertion of a feeding tube.
A resident of the hospital who was on my mother's case said that it was best to just let her go and that her end would be painless and quiet. Mom was 89. I decided that, muc h as I loved her, this was not what I wanted for her. I did not want her to stay alive so that I could see her alive and watch her contacts with the world dwindle until she slipped. I wanted it to end quickly and painlessly. She was unable to make the decision herself so my sister asked me to call the hospital and tell them that I approved on the procedure. I told her I did not. So my sister frantic not to let her mother die, arranged for a nurse to ask my mother if she wanted to die, when she replied that she didn't, it weas assumed that she had given consent to the procedure. Mom even signed the order. She had had a sister who had had a massive stroke and spent two years bedridden in a nursing home unable to communicate, move or recognize her loved ones. At that time, Mom said I don't ever want to be like this. I interpreted this to mean that she did not want extraordinary measures taken to preserve her life. My sister had had a conversation in which my mom said that I wpouldn't want to be in a position where they turn off the machine whic h kept her alive because there might be a cure at some later date. There is no cure for Terry Sciavo. There was no cure for Mom. She lived for nine months. She had the distinction of having lived to be niney by one month. She didn't know me after that first three months. I still cannot forgive my sister for putting her through that torment. And letting her selfish need to see her alive over rule her feelings of compassion and love for a dying woman. Call me angry.

Posted by: Judy Brooks at March 22, 2005 03:04 PM

STOP RIGHT NOW.

One reason I decided to shup up about this is because it's a wrenching decision without any easy or right answers. There can be no unanimous resolution or consensus. Decisions about whether or not a plug should be pulled, so to speak, are best to left to the individuals who want or don't want a plug for themselves.

Naturally, different people have different ideas about how long they would want to prolong their own lives. My wife and I don't quite agree about this, but we don't scream at each other because of it. I listen very carefully to what she says, and she does the same for me.

What's happening here is that everyone's personal ideas for what they would want for themselves are being projected onto Terri Schiavo. Those of us who could have a perfectly civil conversation about what we would want for ourselves are waving the bloody shirt around because we're talking about what's best for somebody else. Thing is, we don't really know what's best for somebody else. We only know what we would want for ourselves if we were in that situation. Just because Tosk, for example, wouldn't want to live like Terri Schiavo doesn't mean he's on The Road to Fascism. Jeez.

I'm seeing some excellent points made on both sides of this argument, but I'm frankly sick to death of all the name-calling and nastiness. If we can't have a civil conversation about this, then I will pull the plug on this comments thread.

You (plural) don't have to shut up, but I am asking you to stop villifying people who see this case differently. Thank you.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at March 22, 2005 03:38 PM

Which evidence will partisans look at? I find it interesting, and perhaps significant, that those who side with Michael Schiavo do not seem to have read the affidavits from Carla Iyer (sp) and others who attended Terri Schiavo.

Their claims are harsher than anything Tom DeLay has said. They made these claims under oath, subject to the penalties of perury. Iyer has repeated them in a number of interviews today and earlier, making her suject to a libel suit by Michael Schiavo and, possibly, his lawyer.

Now maybe she and the others who attended Terri Schiavo are lying. But I think that every honest person ought to at least look at those
affidavits. (By the way, I did look at the "abtractappeal" site that someone kept citing and found it moderately interesting -- but I saw no mention of these affidavits.)

Where can you find the affidavits? At Patterico's site, and probably many other places.

And there is a general lesson here that Michael Totten, especially, should think about: A cause is not necessarily a bad one because it has the support of Tom DeLay (or anyone else).

(Finally, a bit of medical trivia, for those who keep talking about missing cortexes, et cetera. It is a fact that there are people have lost very large portions of their brains through surgery or accident and not lost their cognitive functions. Women tend to do little bit better than men in such cases, since their two hemispheres have better connections.

Those who are sure that the testimony of one or two neurosurgeons settle the matter should look at the National Review piece where Johansen (sp?) easily found a large number of neurosurgeons who think more tests are indicated in Terri's case. As I recall, roughly 15 board certified neurosurgeons took the side of the parents. Those who are absolutely sure they know the medical facts may want to take up the dispute with these doctors.)

Posted by: Jim Miller at March 22, 2005 03:38 PM

I'm from Oregon, like you Michael where we voted for death with dignity. I just don't know anyone who wouldn't rather be starved to death than live on another 15 years in such a terrible state. What this debate is good for is getting people who wish it, to have their advance directives completed, signed and witnessed and copies distributed to family (and even friends, your doctor(s) and a local hospital). We can discuss both sides of this issue, but this is also one issue each person can literally do something about - with an advance directive; you can say yea or nay to life support. That's all Terri needed, so we wouldn't have to take her husband's word for it or her family's.

Posted by: bridget at March 22, 2005 03:39 PM

bridget, I totally agree with that. What bothers me out about this whole case is that 1)Michael Schiavo is no longer Terri's husband in anything but name 2) he stands to profit monetarily from her death (big time too, once the book and movie rights are sold), and 3) he clearly hates her parents - and indeed anyone who stands in his way - with a white-hot hatred that is creepy as hell.

That said, if she had left a written directive that expressed her wishes and/or named him as a health proxy in the event of her incapacitation, I would feel much better about this whole sorry business.

Posted by: Priscilla at March 22, 2005 04:05 PM

Here are the two sites that I mentioned: First, the Patterico post with the links to the affidavits:

http://patterico.com/2005/03/21/2781/schiavo-affidavits-and-other-legal-documents/
(If you don't want to read the affidavits in full, you can go down a bit in the site and find a post with extensive quotations from them.)

Second, the Johansen piece I mentioned:

http://www.nationalreview.com/comment/johansen200503160848.asp

I notice that I understated the evidence in the earlier comment, so here are the key lines on the neurosurgeons:

"I have spent the past ten days recruiting and interviewing neurologists who are willing to come forward and offer affidavits or declarations concerning new testing and examinations for Terri. In addition to the 15 neurologists’ affidavits Gibbs had in time to present in court, I have commitments from over 30 others who are willing to testify that Terri should have new and additional testing, and new examinations by unbiased neurologists. Almost 50 neurologists all say the same thing: Terri should be reevaluated, Terri should be reexamined, and there are grave doubts as to the accuracy of Terri’s diagnosis of PVS. All of these neurologists are board-certified; a number of them are fellows of the prestigious American Academy of Neurology; several are professors of neurology at major medical schools."

As I said, feel free to tell these neurosurgeons that they don't know what they are talking about, and that no reevaluation is needed. I don't feel I have the credentials to do so, but if you are sure they are wrong, go ahead and tell them so. I am sure they will appreciate your help.

Posted by: Jim Miller at March 22, 2005 04:28 PM

Jim,

don't waste your time. They want her to die, period.

They're sticking it to the "Far Right".

Posted by: Carlos at March 22, 2005 04:50 PM

Carlos,

Take your right wing lunacy back to the freepers.

Posted by: bob at March 22, 2005 04:56 PM

I, for once, am with MJT on this: SHUT the f@ck UP for a while, everybody. The whole Schiavo circus is getting ridiculous, bringing out the ugly philistine side in some people. Go here for some comic relief.

Posted by: novakant at March 22, 2005 05:03 PM

Since I have been a relatively long-term poster here, and since other people have ventured into their personal stories I will take the liberty for just a moment. My father founded one of the first bioethics institutes in the US and so I grew up surrounded by these conversations - abortion, euthanasia, in vitro fertilization, cloning and so on. Anyone who works in clinical research will also be familiar with the impact of the bioethics field through their IRB and their requirements to be familiar with such things as the National Research Council of 1974 and the "Belmont Report", with its principles of respect for persons, justice, and beneficence. Familiarity with this stuff is pretty de rigeur at most clinical research instiutions these days. For all the everyday hassle some of this IRB stuff can cause, I sometimes chuckle and mentally thank my father - who died many years ago. However, I am not laughing today. Bioethics did have much of its roots in the Catholic tradition. Don't give me a history test here cause I would flunk. But one only has to look across at Holland and what has happened there not to think that we are on a very dangerous slippery slope. As my father was Dutch and as he bears some degree of personal responsibility for this mess, although I think he would be completely sickened by what is happening there, (especially since he escaped Holland to escape the Nazi's!) I am simply remembering him today. I was a teenager when he died with a teenager's concerns, and it would take alot of reading for me to understand exactly how he came down on all these issues (he was, e.g. quite involved in the Karen Ann Quinlan case before he died) but I did find the following quote which I imagine might sum up his thoughts today, if he were still alive:

"As bioethics supplants traditional ethics before our very eyes, few seem to question its underlying premises. But we should know it for what it is: a form of extreme utilitarianism in both its theoretical and practical forms.

It bears no relation to the patient–centered Hippocratic ethics that for nearly 2,500 years required physicians to treat every human being in their care as worthy of respect, no matter how sick or small or weak or disabled. It certainly bears no relation to Catholic medical ethics, which continue the Hippocratic tradition in light of church teachings on moral law. And bioethics offers little concrete guidance to physicians and scientists even on its own terms.

Perhaps one of these days, society will come to grips with the moral and practical mess that bioethics has created and come up with something to replace it. This time society will perhaps not rely so heavily on the self–proclaimed scientific and moral experts."

What can I say but thanks Dad. I know you meant well.

Posted by: Caroline at March 22, 2005 05:16 PM

I should have added that I agree that the basic principle should be to err on the side of life. However, the utilitarian argument also must be considered. But how does ANY utilitarian argument even apply here? 1. Terry's parents are quite willing to take care of her 2. There is no cost to the taxpayer 3. Terry is not on advanced life support that is depriving another better deserving patient . So - if there isn't a utilitarian argument for pulling her feeding tube, then why pull it?

Well – there is the “quality-of-life” issue. But Terry doesn’t have a legal document indicating how she would view that (living will). Furthermore, Terry is apparently not even in physical pain! Which appears to leave a bunch of people, including her husband, saying “Well I wouldn’t want to live that way.” That vague speculation actually crosses way over the line of the "quality-of-life" fence. THAT is the very dangerous slippery slope. And if that argument alone is the one that is to be given validity - then it seems to me that the judge has an OBLIGATION to order an MRI and allow examination by multiple neurosurgeons to prove PVS.

Posted by: Caroline at March 22, 2005 06:20 PM

Furthermore, and I am trying hard here to avoid making any unfounded or scurrilous accusations about her husband, although clearly a conflict of interest case could be made to question his suitability as guardian - but what I would very much like to know is what grounds does he have all by himself to BLOCK certain medical procedures such as an MRI scan (or whatever state of the art technology exists to ascertain quality of life issues). For instance - what if her parents were willing to actually pay cash out of pocket for an MRI? I have stated before that I believe there is a difference between process (usually law) and justice and it seems to me that in a case where we are talking about letting someone die (or even killing them, depending on how one comes down on this) - that there shouldn't be some "process" impediment to someone being allowed to pay out of pocket for an MRI scan. Especially her own parents. The fact that the husband has some legal grounds to block that procedure strikes me as extremely troubling, especially in this sort of case.

Posted by: Caroline at March 22, 2005 06:38 PM

Caroline, you make some very good points, and the tone of your post is more persuasive than that of others today.

Posted by: Todd Grimson at March 22, 2005 07:26 PM

Terri was not diagnosed as PVS until 7 years ago. In order to begin the process of disconnecting the feeding tube, Michael Schiavo had to get that diagnosis, and he was able to get a number of doctors willing to make the diagnosis of PVS without the tests that would normally be considered standard. Once the court accpepted the diagnosis, he made sure that no further tests were done that might challenge it. The court was unbelieveably remiss in not requiring more testing and more information.

Posted by: Priscilla at March 22, 2005 07:36 PM

Caroline,

As bioethics supplants traditional ethics before our very eyes, few seem to question its underlying premises. But we should know it for what it is: a form of extreme utilitarianism in both its theoretical and practical forms

Yes, that is precisely one of the things that bothers me in this case. I also hear a lot of discussion of legalities, of whether or not Terri is completely unresponsive, whether or not she would wish to die, etc. To me these are also not the main issue. To me, the larger issue is justice. I don't think the parents had adequate recourse, regardless of the various legal matters. The legal niceties merely satisfy the lawyers. In this country, justice denied leads to trouble, and I think we are just beginning to see the outfall. Maybe you don't see these events as an injustice, but many do, and to deride their views isn't going to calm the outrage. Once civility and accomodation go, the strongest will dominate. Just hope it is your side.

Posted by: at March 22, 2005 09:01 PM

Once the court accpepted the diagnosis, he made sure that no further tests were done that might challenge it.

Mr. Schiavo has no power whatsoever to deny tests the courts may deem fit to order. This is yet another lie.

he stands to profit monetarily from her death (big time too, once the book and movie rights are sold),

Mr. Schiavo has made clear that he gains no life insurance from Ms. Schiavo's death. There is no credible evidence to the contrary. If he were interested in book and movie rights, he'd want her to linger in the public spotlight as long as possible, in order to maintain publicity. You are baselessly smearing a man who has had to watch his wife in semideath for fifteen years.

They're sticking it to the "Far Right".

No, you lying nutjob, we're terrified that people like you are going to appoint yourselves the morality cops and that Congress will now have veto power over all private decisions. We're horrified that in addition to the heinous tragedy of watching a loved one slowly succumb to injury, we will now have to endure a relentless character smear if we want to follow his or her wishes at the end of his or her life.

Please, just stop lying. For one day. Take a break. See what it feels like.

Posted by: Kimmitt at March 22, 2005 09:16 PM

No, you lying nutjob, we're terrified that people like you are going to appoint yourselves the morality cops and that Congress will now have veto power over all private decisions.

What can I say, you're an idiot. You want lawyers in black robes to run this country, I'd prefer our elected officials to run it. See you at the polls.

Posted by: Carlos at March 22, 2005 09:30 PM

Wow, Michael Kimmitt, the Pride of Oahu, namecalling across multiple threads! Who'd have ever thought we'd reach such heights of discourse. Of course, this kind of namecalling worked for President Howard Dean...what? he didn't win? ok, it worked for nominee Howard Dean! What, he lost every primary but his home state?

Hmm, maybe the namecalling thing doesn't persuade people, a novel concept perhaps.

Posted by: spc67 at March 22, 2005 09:39 PM

No, you lying nutjob, we're terrified that people like you are going to appoint yourselves the morality cops and that Congress will now have veto power over all private decisions.

Kimmet, my good man, it's called a revolution. You have heard of those?

Posted by: at March 22, 2005 09:40 PM

"Mr. Schiavo has made clear that he gains no life insurance from Ms. Schiavo's death."

I haven't followed this aspect of the case but it's certainly not a stretch to imagine that financial gain could become a motive in similar but less publicly scrutinized circumstances.

For anyone who is interested, take a look at what is currently happening in Holland:

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Posted by: Caroline at March 23, 2005 01:23 AM

BTW - I recommend permalink viewing for that link I posted above (I remember the day someone told me about permalink so I don't assume everyone knows about it!)

Posted by: Caroline at March 23, 2005 01:32 AM

This thread may be dead, but I thought I'd address the questions some have brought up about why no MRI has been done. It's my understanding that Mrs. Shiavo has thalamic implants to reduce tremors, and that these would have to be surgically removed prior to an MRI and then reimplanted afterwards. I don't think this is an insurmountable obstacle, but it's certainly not the case that an MRI would be a quick and easy test, as some have implied. I suspect that the surgical difficulties, combined with the quite convincing CAT scan and EEG results, are why the courts have never ordered one.

Posted by: Smokey at March 23, 2005 08:10 AM

I think the best quote I've heard on this is the following from David Davenport of the Hoover Institute, a "conservative research organization".

"When a case like this has been heard by 19 judges in six courts and it's been appealed to the Supreme Court three times, the process has worked - even if it hasn't given the result that the social conservatives want."

(for "social conservatives" you can replace any particular group in an issue of this kind).

Posted by: Michael Farris at March 23, 2005 08:53 AM

My favorite is this one by Krauthammer:

"For Congress and the president to then step in and try to override that by shifting the venue to a federal court was a legal travesty, a flagrant violation of federalism and the separation of powers. The federal judge who refused to reverse the Florida court was certainly true to the law. But the law, while scrupulous, has been merciless, and its conclusion very troubling morally. We ended up having to choose between a legal travesty on the one hand and human tragedy on the other."

Posted by: Priscilla at March 23, 2005 08:58 AM

Hmm, maybe the namecalling thing doesn't persuade people, a novel concept perhaps.

Thank you for your deep and obviously sincere concern for my rhetorical tactics. Your devotion to civility, as evidenced in your own posts, often compared to Disraeli, is noted around the internets, and you have shamed me into a political and political conversion.

Posted by: Kimmitt at March 23, 2005 09:16 AM

Personal and political, rather. I'm so choked up, I can barely type right now.

Posted by: Kimmitt at March 23, 2005 09:21 AM

Priscilla,

here's another good one:

"To the sustained applause of liberals, the federal government can impose its will on everything from the gender balance of college athletics to the number of Asians that can work for the fire department. The same liberals who today lament the damage done to "the rule of law" in the Schiavo case have in the past cheered the retrying in federal courts of allegedly racist or homophobic malefactors' civil rights violations."

http://www.usatoday.com/news/opinion/editorials/2005-03-22-schiavo-politics_x.htm

Given that conservatives have in the past decried the exact opposite, the accusations of hypocrisy by boths sides cancel each other out. We care about our issues, and any outrage about "the Constitution" or "state's rights" is purely disingenous. Admit it.

Posted by: Carlos at March 23, 2005 10:15 AM

Thank you for your deep and obviously sincere concern for my rhetorical tactics.

As always, it is my pleasure to assist the less fortunate.

Your devotion to civility, as evidenced in your own posts, often compared to Disraeli,

Wow, thanks whoever made that comparison. I'm flatterred and honored. I'd like to thank My Mother, My Father, my agent, Mr. Clint Eastwood, all the people at Miramax * music overrides speech *

is noted around the internets, and you have shamed me into a political and political conversion.

Hey, I'm "noted," how cool is that? As for conversions, one must have an open mind first. Seriously, where is the liberal concern for the least fortunate among us? I am seriously puzzled by the many lefties are coming down on this. Granted it is a horrible situation. Anti-torture, anti-war, anti-death penalty, concern for non- combatants, ok starving a living citizen to death. It just doesn't seem to hang together. Oh well, if I understood libs I'd propbably be one.

Posted by: spc67 at March 23, 2005 10:36 AM

Carlos,

You're seeing the exact same pattern here, that some peple have seen for quite some time. The idea that Conservatives and Liberals are the main dividing factor seems no longer exactly correct.

We care about our issues, and any outrage about "the Constitution" or "state's rights" is purely disingenous.

It does seem to be quickly changing to a Statist versus Libretarian system. The Democrats, like the ACLU have long been resigned to their hypocricy. Socialism is great, until it steps on their toes.

Conservatives, while I am often concerned about some of their policies and moral high-handedness, seemed, at least, consistant. However, since 9/11 when a conservative president turned into a Corporate Statist, the conservative party has seemed to have a difficult time seperating its values from its politics.

Traditional conservatives would have been unlikely to sponser an example of outright Big Government, as we saw this week. Traditional conservatives would probably not have supported a gargantuan department like the DHS. Traditional conservatives would, very likely, have been nervous about the USAPATRIOT ACT.

It seems to me, that we're dealing, perhaps, with some cognative dissonance on both sides. It may be that this sort of "National CD" is a result of the trauma of 9/11, I'm not sure.

It does seem plausable though. In cases of trauma induced CD, some religious people may tend to become much more avid about their religion as a way to try to deal (or not deal) with the trauma. Some Non-religious people may become religious (which we saw happen to some Democrats and moderates), or may become much more secular (which seems to have happened to many democrats).

These two conflicting ideas would probably be much less problematic, except that both sides seem to be turning to the Federal government to legislate their cognative dissonance. This, I think makes things worse. Any attempt by the Left to pass legislation that decreases the "safty net" of religion, may seem very threatening to those who are using that net. At the same time, any attempt that the more secular might see, comming from the other side... would act in a similar way against their 'safty net' of scientific theories and socialist "everyone help everyone" ideologies.

I don't know if this is true or not. But it does seem to be arguable at least.

What do you think?

Ratatosk

Posted by: Ratatosk, Squirrel of Discord at March 23, 2005 11:19 AM

Seriously, where is the liberal concern for the least fortunate among us?

We believe that even those whose parents are unbelievable jerkwads, funded by the right-wing noise machine, have the right to die with dignity, along with everyone else.

Posted by: Kimmitt at March 24, 2005 10:02 AM

dying with dignity=starving to death

A new low.

Good luck with the namecalling though. Jerkwads is a valuable contribution.

Posted by: spc67 at March 24, 2005 02:45 PM

I have not read all the posts, but going after DeLay is not only a waste of time, it is beside the point. Nothing he could have said is as bad as what is happening to this disabled woman.

I am a health care worker and I have never, in all the years I have done this kind of work seen a brain damaged but physically healthy person not on life support starved to death. It is barbaric. It is not normal. It is not business as usual.

Her so called husband must have allowed the feeding tube to be put in and to announce years later after a huge settlement that somehow this is not what his wife wanted is absurd and cruel. If what he says is true, this should have been over long before he found another woman or filed a law suit or began torturing her parents. Needless to say none of us really knows all the facts, but this is not just family business and she is not his property.

I have seen people people die, but this is so wrong. If the courts or anyone else thinks that killing this woman is right, they should be prepared to do it in a humane way....but to let her lie there day after day slowly breaking down is shameful. Calling it liberation or euphoric is obscene.

And no I am not a fundamentalist Christian or an avid pro lifer or even a registered Republican. But I am a human being and I would not do this to a dog.

Posted by: Terrye at March 24, 2005 02:56 PM

I am a health care worker and I have never, in all the years I have done this kind of work seen a brain damaged but physically healthy person not on life support starved to death.

What do they usually do when the money runs out and/or the caregivers lose the capacity to assist? I'm not trying to be flip; my understanding is that under "futile care" laws, removal of feeding apparatuses is precisely what happens.

Posted by: Kimmitt at March 25, 2005 02:12 AM

dying with dignity=starving to death

Okay, with all due respect, that's how my grandmother died. The cancer ate away at her intestinal system, and she eventually wasn't able to apprehend her surroundings or ingest nourishment. We brought her home, kept her hydrated, and tended to her needs; she died, surrounded by friends and family, at a fraction of her former weight. With what dignity that cancer leaves people. So, seriously, thanks for that.

Posted by: Kimmitt at March 25, 2005 02:15 AM

Kimmett,

My Grandfather died the same way. His stomach was removed in 1975 and he died in 1986. He was 6' tall and 65 lbs at death.

His body starved to death eventually, he slipped into a coma, and passed away. It was quiet and apparently painless.

But, don't try to confuse dogma by using any sort of facts. Just go on with life and let them rant.

Posted by: Ratatosk, Squirrel of Discord at March 25, 2005 08:33 AM

I suspect what happened to your grandmother is what happened to each of mine. We used morphine to keep them comfortable with a secondary impact that it impeded respiration until they each peacefully passed. That process takes a few days. Starvation takes weeks.

Posted by: spc67 at March 25, 2005 10:34 AM

Hey, I'm all for giving Ms. Schiavo a bit of morphine to hasten her passing, not that it's relevant, since the part of her which would suffer appears to not exist. But I gratefully accept your concession on the fact that starvation and death with dignity are not incompatible concepts.

Posted by: Kimmitt at March 26, 2005 12:56 PM

Just to correct a couple of misconceptions: Terri Schiavo has in fact had two doses of morphine in the past few days , the last on March 26 for what medical staff saw as possible distress symptoms including moaning and waving of the arms.

Secondly, the parents have agreed to take over and pay for the care should she be allowed to live. So the rush to terminate sustenance seems a bit strange.

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